New Approaches to Youth Action

In my own restlessness, I find myself craving something different these days.  I’m increasingly dissatisfied with isolated experiences of “youth-led” activity that is seeded and driven by adults. I have come to see that the majority of this work is largely disingenuous and ultimately incapacitating for the young people who participate in these activities. IContinue reading “New Approaches to Youth Action”

The Freechild Project Youth Action Guide

The Freechild Project Youth Action Guide is CommonAction’s latest publication. A 50-page publication created for our training promoting youth changing the world, this guide is FREE online right now! It’s packed with quick, easy reading that can help young people or adults think about how to find what needs to change, create programs to makeContinue reading “The Freechild Project Youth Action Guide”

Nobody Owns Volunteering

Nonprofits searching for purpose after the ship went down… The ship’s going down and all the rats are swimming for their lives!  A long time ago, back in the 1990s, the federal government decided to build the nonprofit volunteerism sector in the United States. At first this brought menial efforts from fledgling organizations that actuallyContinue reading “Nobody Owns Volunteering”

The Time for Youth Engagement is NOW

Its time to get real about youth engagement. Faced with hard times, we need to speak truth to power. This post is my attempt to acknowledge the obvious. Reading the news lately, its easy to get hopeless if you’re not careful. Federal and state budgets for essential services affecting children and youth are getting slashed,Continue reading “The Time for Youth Engagement is NOW”

2013 Seattle Service Learning Symposium

Join CommonAction and others for the  2013 SEATTLE SERVICE LEARNING SYMPOSIUM Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 8:00-4:00pm At S.T.E.M. at CLEVELAND High School 5511 15TH Avenue South, Seattle, 98108 You’re Invited!  Join School Staff, Community Partners, and National Service Members for Networking, Exploring Development & Implementation of Service Learning, Youth Engagement, Community-School Partnerships… Agenda Includes… A welcomeContinue reading “2013 Seattle Service Learning Symposium”

Convenient or Inconvenient Youth Voice

Youth Voice is being thrown around these days as something special, unique, and never wrong. The simple fact is that while all children and youth are powerful beyond measure and important beyond words, Youth Voice is nothing that should be romanticized or pedestaled. It should be integrated, normalized, and mainstreamed, but not worshiped or seenContinue reading “Convenient or Inconvenient Youth Voice”

Equality, Self-Led, or Equity? The 6-7-8 Debate

Somewhere in the realm of youth participation there’s a geeky, but important, argument that’s been raging for almost 20 years. Its the 6, 7, 8 Debate, and following is my response. Roger Hart, then a research sociologist with UNESCO, studied several hundred organizations that involved children in decision-making in the early 1990s. In his 1994Continue reading “Equality, Self-Led, or Equity? The 6-7-8 Debate”

Service Learning versus “Activist Learning”

From the late 90s through the 2000s, I participated in a number of service learning programs across the U.S. Some were hyper-local, such as the program in Taos, New Mexico, focused on building cultural and social connections between the Taos Pueblo and youth in the neighboring town. I worked at the state level in Washington,Continue reading “Service Learning versus “Activist Learning””

Each Others’ Dreams

In my decade-long exploration of the motivations of service, I have found several different keys to understanding why people help people. One of the pinnacle reasons is solidarity. For several years I have struggled to explain the premise of solidarity, because being too basic under-emphasizes the extreme nature of solidarity. It’s deep, man! What I’veContinue reading “Each Others’ Dreams”